NBA Press Release
  07 May 2006
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Sardar Sarovar: Congress Leaders in Maharashtra and M.P. Oppose Height Raise

62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-222464
Email: badwani[at]narmada.org

While it is obvious from the UPA government's response or 'no-response' over the last one month and more during the agitation by NBA, that the Centre decided not to take a strong position against Modi government's violent move to push the dam ahead, the reason and force behind was the pressure from the Gujarat Congress. The Congress leaders in Gujarat who have never even assessed the woes and problems of Gujarat's own thousands of ousted adivasis, helped to make Modi a hero out of his politically motivated push "through false compliance reports and strong bureaucratic alliance", bypassing even the Ministers in Maharashtra and at the Centre both

What have the Congress leaders in M.P. and Maharashtra been doing, everyone wondered. Here is their position, taken and publicised later, which is better than never.

In Maharashtra, the Member of Parliament from Nandurbar (the constituency of the affected Adivasis) who is also the present Minister of State for Home, Mr. Manikrao Gavit, wrote to Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister and Chief Minister of Maharashtra in April itself, against the dam height raise and asking construction to be halted till rehabilitation is completed. The local Congress MLA, Mr. P. Valvi, also did the same. Both of them visited the resettlement sites on May 4th, 2006, and gave a report detailing the shocking story of incomplete and unjust resettlement, with problems of land rights, drinking water, landlessness in spite of eligibility for land, and undeclared families, which also openly criticised the false reports and misleading role of the bureaucrats, asking the CM for immediate intervention. The letter points out the grave picture in the case of adivasis shifted out of the river valley 12 to 13 years ago. Will the PM take cognisance?

In Madhya Pradesh, Congress guided by Shri Arjun Singhji, appointed a committee with seniors including Shri Ajay Singh, Shri KK Mishra and Subhash Yadav, that visited affected villages, heard the people and submitted a report, bringing out enormous problems and status of rehabilitation fallen behind, violating the law. Their report recommended suspension of dam work. In the SSP affected region of MP, the Congress party is in power in two-thirds of Panchayats and municipalities. Hence, here the votes of the dam-affected communities matter much more than in Gujarat. The affected region in Maharashtra also has always elected Congress representatives, who seem to not be respected by the Centre, when the dam is being raised today beyond 114 metres, which would drown the adivasi communities.

With the PM inactive and the Court delaying the judgement, the people in the area are watchful of the parties and their elected representatives, so as to teach a lesson when it is their turn. It is the dam that would, if allowed by all democratic fora to go ahead, that would redefine and reintroduce the unholy politics to the lakhs of voters in the Narmada Valley.

Dipti Bhatnagar Ashish Mandloi Sanjay Sangvai